Ask What You Can Do—in Trump’s America
By Libby Whitbeck (MPP 2017) and Wilson Tong (MPA 2018), Co-Chairs of the HKS Democratic Caucus
Welp…here we are everyone! Trump’s America. Now a month into the United States’ 45th and perhaps most unexpected presidential administration, we have witnessed a tornado of activity coming from the White House. From the Muslim ban to Betsy DeVos’ confirmation to Mike Flynn’s resignation to Kellyanne Conway’s ethics violation to contentious phone calls between the President and leaders of American allies, President Trump and an increasingly-polarized Congress have left many HKS students wondering: “What can I do for this country… now?”
Given this challenging environment, we at the HKS Democratic Caucus aim to harness the unwavering passion and energy within the HKS community to pursue a three-pronged approach to this semester’s programming, focusing on reflection, activism, and growth:
- Reflecting on Middle America and the future of the Democratic Party: The election of Donald Trump shocked pollsters, pundits, and Harvard professors alike. The HKS Dems are organizing events to explore how the Democratic Party missed and/or ignored the warning signs of a pro-Trump voting block spanning from the Rust Belt to the Bible Belt. We’ll also discuss how the Democratic Party might reorganize amidst an overwhelming number of Republican majorities across state legislatures and governorships.
- Activism: The HKS and Harvard communities were quick to rise to the challenges posed by President Trump’s executive actions. Students organized trips to Washington, DC for the Women’s March on January 21, held protests in Harvard Square on January 27 and at Logan Airport on January 28, and joined the #NoBanNoWall rally in Copley Square on January 29. The HKS Dems will participate in more protests and rallies for progressive causes, but we also want to spread the word about important opportunities we are not organizing but that are taking place on Harvard’s campus, in Boston, and across the country. Please e-mail us with any events or ideas!
- Professional growth: The last thing HKS students should do is run away (JFK would not approve)—we’ve got a country that needs help! We’ll be hosting professional events this semester, focusing on ways in which you can get involved with politically progressive organizations post-graduation or for your summer internship.
Let’s close out the 2016-2017 school year with resilience and dedication, stepping up to answer the call of JFK’s ever-important mantra. There is plenty that HKS and other Harvard students can do for this country despite today’s environment, and the HKS Democratic Caucus looks forward to advancing your reflection, activism, and growth.